New Species Maratus Jumping Spider Western Australia

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Wesley and I have had a busy few days this week.  We’ve travelled inland to see some friends and hang out in Coorow.  We’ve been gardening and digging up some plants in the yard.  One of us has learned that the pool is an amazing place on a hot sunny day (and is due to start swimming lessons tomorrow too!).

Yesterday we met with a fellow Canadian and her son for a nice walk and play in Greenhead.  There is a really beautiful park there that is basically enclosed by bushes and Wesley and his little friend were able to run amok within a safe space.  We were enjoying our coffees and the scenery.  The weather has run a bit cooler this week and last night it poured down on the farm… which was a nice change as two nights prior we had quite a bit of lightning and at least one fire on the horizon.  Its safe to say that I did not sleep very well that night.

Most days when Wesley is having a long nap I move around the yard and pull weeds and take a look at what’s moving about my feet.  Sometimes I see little movements that catch my eye.  With the jumping spider I actually didn’t take too much notice of him at first.  I thought I should try and get a photo but then as I was taking the image I saw the tips of his back legs stretch out to almost wave at something. It was then that I realised I’d found something very special.  At first I was so excited that it might be a new species, I called Mike and Tessa to tell them and send some images.  I then scoured some resources online and found that it’s common and closely related to the#peacockspider maratus species.

You know what, it’s still a huge find.  This little spider called#lycidaschrysomelas was so incredibly small I strained my eyes to keep track of it.  I’ve included a photo (it’s not the best quality) to show the size next to my index finger.  Note my hands are smallish.

He’s absolutely beautiful along with all the others.  I’ve been throughly impressed by nature this week, and can’t wait to see what else is out there.  Till next time… here is a list of what’s pictured above.

  1. maratus jumping spider male and female (she’s pale and creamy).  I was able to begin to identify them with this site.  It is the second new species possibly genus of spider that I’ve discovered on the property in the past week.  A variant of this new species will be featured in another post.
  2. Solid Black Christmas Spider (the first we’ve seen that looks like this, normally they are white and black with orange
  3. THARPYNA (CRAB SPIDER)
  4. Leaf Beetle #paropsisternadecolorata
  5. Oxyopidae – Lynx Spider
  6. A little flower segue – these are white verticorida commonly named lambs ear or wild cauliflower #verticordiaeriocephala
  7. An unidentified jumping spider – may be another female but it’s not clear at this stage.
  8. The bush caught between a cropped paddock on our way home from Coorow
  9. A slender skink found just in our car port called a #westcoastctnenotus

Peacock Jumping Spider – Western Australia

Screen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.31.51 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.46.46 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 1.47.09 pmScreen Shot 2017-09-16 at 2.00.22 pmSo after 4 years of diligently searching the bush, parks and house yards across Australia, we have found an elusive peacock jumping spider in our very own back yard!

They were quite a bit bigger than I had anticipated and were easy to identify with their little white socks on the middle legs.

These spiders have some incredible colouring and are known to dance and court the female before mating.  If the male successfully dances for her affection she will breed with him, if not there’s a chance she may kill him.  The odds are dire!

To see some more examples of these incredibly vibrant little spiders please check out this page.  There is currently a group the dedicates time to finding and identifying these spiders (Project Maratus) and I’m just waiting to hear back from Michael about the type that this little spider might be.  I think he’s quite common at this stage.

The first two images were taken last night at sunset, and the last was today at midday.  It appears the colours become more vibrant in bright lighting.

We actually found two yesterday, along with an ant mimicking spider, and some Christmas spiders today as well.  Mike and I had been moving some scrap metal and digging up old posts when we discovered the colourful little spiders.

The yard is smouldering today as we burned and cleared some plant matter and burned down one dead tree.  The air has that campfire smell, combined with working in a 30 degree day, we have had our first little taste of summer.  Mike and I are also in the process of getting a chicken yard set up and removing the old one.

I’m not sure if it’s the heat or just the time of year but there are spiders everywhere!

Jumping Spider Courtship Dance

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His yearning is very real…screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-5-20-09-pm

This afternoon I witnessed this little jumping spider desperately try to capture the attention of his female love interest.  He may have been putting on the moves too quick… In the end she literally jumped off the leaf and left him there alone, with a broken heart.

Prior to this encounter, I thought the amazing videos I’d seen floating around the internet of peacock spiders dancing and then mating, would have been hard to film and required plenty of time in the bush observing the spiders with infinite patience.  I’m super patient, and have scouted for a few years but never saw anything that looked like courtship until today.

Heating our little home.

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Last night it rained heavily.  We lay on the couch listening to it pound on the roof and I felt some comfort knowing the rainwater tank we use will be filling up quickly.  Our house is not actually heated (well, only with firewood) and is also not connected to council water, so we are conscious of our usage, and have to be careful when showering.   Often we just shower together (though this is proving to become more challenging as my belly’s radius takes up more and more space – ahah).

Winter is just around the corner so we won’t be worrying about it much longer…there will be buckets of rain!

We did manage to sort out a load of wood when we first moved in, and have stacked that on the front porch, and now two more loads will be turning up.  Mike’s dad has been an advocate on behalf of the baby, and assured us we needed much more.  He’s gifted us with two loads.  It was such a thoughtful gift!

We’ll be stacking the next lot over the coming few days – and I know someone whom will be thankful….for the heat…

My dad will be here in 6 weeks for a months stay, and despite being a bit of a miser on home heating as a teenager – he does complain when he gets cold!  We’ll all be toasty warm this winter, and our baby will probably be grateful as well.

Here are a few tracks I’ve been listening to lately…they all have a similar relaxing feel:

Atom – Stay

Wanderflux – Aubade

Droeloe – zZz

I wasn’t sure I’d be lucky two days in a row, however I did spot this colourful little jumping spider rather quickly up our driveway, yesterday.  I ran back inside and grabbed my tripod and thankfully was able to capture a slightly closer image.  I’m still trying to find a reliable source for identification…but for the time being I think it might be a juvenile trite auricoma?

Also because I’m still obsessed with this film – please check the trailer out:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8Xvsjy57X0

Jumping Spiders – In our garden.

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It finally happened.  I found a jumping spider who stayed out in the open long enough for this wobbling body to take a photo.  I probably should have used a tripod – but lucky for me he was very obliging and let me take quite a few images (many of the shots were very blurry!).  My balance is way off at the moment.

What I also loved about spotting this spider yesterday – was the fact that there were about 25 babies on the leaves surrounding it.  They were so small and translucent…adorable little things.

A short side note – now that we’re in NZ – I decided to reinstall Instagram.  You can follow the account here.

We saw a film yesterday – a Kiwi film – which I can’t rate highly enough.  We were in tears laughing…  If you get the chance to catch a screening of The Wilderpeople you must.  I promise it will tickle your funny bone.  And whilst I never do this normally – I found myself quoting some of the best parts and reliving the hilarious scenes with Mike well after we’d finished watching it.

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Moving onto the evening, I headed over to Feilding (a small country town near Palmerston North – which is actually where Mike grew up) to take some photographs for Mike’s Aunt Lynda.  She’s supporting a friend whom is having treatment, with a group of friends and family by shaving her head.  It was really touching to see the support and love – I really enjoyed that everyone had a bit of a chuckle during the proceedings and how many put thier hands up to shave was impressive.  It was an honour to be asked to attend.

Lynda if you’re reading this – you look wonderful.

xx